Calories Burned Swimming | Full Review

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Calories Burned Swimming: Let´s take a look!

calories burned swimming

You will be surprised how many calories are actually burned when swimming. This article will convince you to replace your ordinary cardio workout for a swimming workout.

Have you ever jumped in a pool for a cardio workout, and noticed how much harder swimming can be compared to cycling and running? You maybe remember the times, when you were a kid, how easy it was doing lap after lap but now it amazes you how exhausted you can feel after just a few minutes with moderate intensity.

You are landed on this article because I suppose you are curios about how many calories does swimming burn. You are not alone here, questions like “does swimming burn fat, does swimming help you lose weight, how many calories do you burn swimming?” are searched by the thousands month after month on the Internet. Keep reading to find more details on “calories burned swimming”. 



Calories Burned Swimming – The Benefits

Many triathletes, swimmers and olympic athletes are recommending swimming to lose weight and improve overall health. They agree that swimming is one of the best workouts you can do to burn calories. It aids in burning fat, shedding weight, improving overall health and building strength.

Besides it is a perfect workout for people who want to prevent injuries or have joint problems, because it is so low impact on your body and ligaments.

One of the major reasons why swimming help you lose weight and build endurance for more intense workouts is that everytime you perform a stroke, pull or kick, you are pulling against the resistance of water. Altough there are no weights involved, it is a form of resistance training because water is more dense than air.

This can help in building muscle, swimming does help you lose weight by all the calories burned swimming. Building lean muscle mass, results in your body continously burning calories throughout the day, even at rest.


Swimming is an excellent way to burn fat and calories fast. Paired with a good diet plan like The Custom Keto Diet and a potent natural weight loss supplement like ExiPure you can lose significant amounts of body weight in no time.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Swimming?

To estimate how many calories are burned when swimming, you first have to understand how scientists figure out the amount of energy your metabolism uses during a physical workout.

You have to look at the MET (metabolic equivalent) which is the name of the unit which is measuring how hard your body is working compared to when it is in rest mode. When you are lying around in your bed the whole day, doing nothing, your body approximately burns 1 Unit of MET, which equals to 1 calorie per kilogram of bodyweight/hour.

If you aware of how many METs any single activity “costs”, and you are aware of how much you weigh, the numbers of calories you have burned doing that thing, can be calculated.

You don´t have to be a math genius to do it. The best and easiest way to do so would be the usage of an online calculator, where you can put in your weight and the duration of the exercise, to effortlessly determine how many calories you have burned.

Your body burns approximately 3.4 MET Units (222 calories per hours) swimming in water with moderate intensity, to 8.2 MET Units (527 calories per hours) for a medium intensity swim crawl, and 13.7 MET Units (877 calories per hour) for a high intensity butterfly stroke. (Estimated for a 135-pound adult).

To put this into comparison, jogging would use up 7 MET Units (445 calories per hour) and cycling would use up 7.4 MET Units (478 calories per hour). However, keep in mind, the amount of total calories burned for these activities vary depending on it´s intensity too. Other Watersports like stand-up paddling and waterball burn calories as well.


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Swimming and Weight Loss

Don´t just get hung up on those numbers. How many calories does swimming burn depends on a lot of factors, says Bellinda Boyd, a physical therapist and Triathlon-certified coach of the Canadian Triathlon Association.

Not all of us have the same weight and body. Individuals who are weighin more will burn more calories than someone who weighs less, obviously because it takes more effort and energy to move larger mass compared to smaller mass (but this is taken into account by the MET unit forumla).

In addition, a larger mass (a bigger body) also creates more surface area in the water resulting in increasing drag resistance. The higher the drag resistance, the higher the amount of energy is needed to push through the resistance. This leads to increased heart rate and forces your body to more calories burned while swimming.

The velocity of youf swim: The speed of your swim also impacts how many calories are burned while swimming. It´s no rocket science to understand that the slower you approach your swim, the less energy output is there, resulting in less calories burned while swimming. If you swim faster, you will burn more energy and calories.

Swim devices such as pull paddles, parachutes, bands and buoys to increase resistance and drag will also amplify your energy output, enhancing your calories burned while swimming.

How you stroke: Of course the way how you approach the stroke itself needs to be taken into consideration. Probably the most technical and difficult stroke is the Butterfly.

When doing the Butterfly stroke you are simulatneously performing dolphin kicks and your arms are fully coming overhead, which calls for a major total body to muscle engagement, especially in your upper back area and your core are).

The next one would be the crawl stroke for the amount of calories burned swimming. When you´re perfoming a stroke, you also use your legs to perform kicking.

This makes for a perfect mixture for burning a lot of calories. Doing a backstroke or breaststroke are about equal in terms of how many calories you burn swimming. Though they are slower strokes, you can still burn good amounts of calories with the proper technique.


Calories burned swimming


Below you find a list for more specific estimations on the number of calories burned swimming each form of stroke. (The estimations are based on a 135-pound healthy adult.

Check out these MET unit estimates and swim stroke here and utilize this swimming calorie calculator to find out how many calories you burn swimming.


  • Treading water (moderate intensity): 3.4 MET units = 222 calories/hour
  • Breaststroke: 5.2 MET units = 336 calories/hour
  • Crawl or Freestyle (light to moderate intensity): 5.7 MET units = 370 calories/hour
  • Backstroke: 4.9 MET units = 304 calories/hour
  • Crawl or Freestyle (medium to vigorous intensity): 8.2 MET units = 529 calories/hour
  • Crawl or Freestyle (high intensity): 9.7 MET units = 625 calories/hour
  • Butterfly: 13.6 METs = 874 calories/hour


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Calories Burned Swimming: Does it help with weight loss?

Yes it does! Regardless of your speed, size or stroke, the best way to burn fat and calories with swimming is doing intervals of intenste bouts interspersed with recovery bouts.  A good intervall workout routine would look like this: A 45m freestyle spring with high intensity followed by 15 seconds rest to bring your heart rate back down and repeat this three, four or five times in total.

High intensity bouts will result in fat burning hours after you finished you´re last swim compared to steady state workout, which mostly burns calories while doing the activity.

This goes not only for swimming but for any other physical activity and cardio workout. Science shows that High Intensity Intervall Training (HIIT) burns up to 30 percent more calories and are igniting the afterburn effect, which burns calories even when you have finished your workout.

If you are looking to lose weight, get healthy, enhance your endurance and build lean muscle, incorporate these swimming workouts for every fitness level.


Are you looking to lose weight? Swimming can be a great way to kickstart your weight loss efforts and also a fun one. If you are serious about losing weight, combining activities like swimming with a proper diet plan like The Custom Keto Diet and a potent natural weight loss supplement like ExiPure can help you reaching your optimal body weight in a very short period of time. 


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